Gun Companies Leave New York Following SAFE Act

Opposition mounts even as part of law is quietly delayed

A member of NY2A Grassroots Coalition, stands on an image of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo / AP
November 5, 2013

Nearly 10 months since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) signed the SAFE Act, opposition to the law continues to increase, multiple gun companies have announced plans to leave the state, and a key provision in the law has been quietly delayed.

American Tactical Imports (ATI) announced it would be leaving the state and will be investing $2.7 million in its new facility and creating 117 new jobs in South Carolina.

ATI's announcement follows the decision of Kahr Arms to relocate to neighboring Pennsylvania, citing "uncertainty" about gun laws following the passage of the SAFE Act.

"One of our big concerns was, OK, the SAFE Act was passed in the middle of the night. You wake up the next morning and boom, that was it," Kahr Vice President of Sales and Marketing Frank Harris told the Times Union in July. "It's not just the SAFE Act, but the uncertainty."

Meanwhile, Remington Arms is reportedly scouting locations in Tennessee for a new plant, following passage of the SAFE Act.

"One of the nation’s largest gun manufacturers, Remington Arms, has looked at sites around Nashville for a potential corporate relocation or expansion that would likely include hundreds of manufacturing jobs," the Tennesseean reported in August. The company's New York plant manufactures a rifle that is now banned under the SAFE Act.

CNY Central reported that Remington has been approached by "a number of 'gun-friendly states'" in the wake of the bill's passage.

Remington has reportedly yet to decide if it will stay in the state or leave.

Meanwhile, a provision of the law requiring background checks on ammunition purchases has been delayed. Background checks were expected to be functional on Jan. 15.

The New York State Police asked the Free Beacon to submit questions after being asked for comment. They did not respond by press time.

It is unclear why ammunition background checks have been delayed and when they will be functional. The number of arrests that have been made under the SAFE Act, and how many of those arrests involved those with criminal backgrounds, also remains unknown.

When Gov. Cuomo signed the law he said it would allow authorities to track ammunition purchases in real time.

Gov. Cuomo’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Additionally, opposition to the law appears to be growing.

Harold ‘Budd’ Schroeder, chairman of the board of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, said his group’s membership has swelled to 6,000 from its previous 3,000. He said these are "volumes" he has never seen before.

"I’ve been involved in the Second Amendment for four decades, and this is something that I have never seen," Schroeder said. "It has really gotten under the skin of legal gun owners."

He said his group has sold over 14,000 "Repeal the SAFE Act" signs since June.

Counties in New York are passing resolutions opposing the gun control law. New York resident Evan Hempel created a website,, to document the local government’s opposition to the SAFE Act.

"It is a law forced on rural New Yorkers by a liberal elite who opposes the principles of the U.S. Constitution," Hempel said by email. "The majority of the state wants a hands-off, non-intrusive government, which does not interfere with their right to bear arms or crush business with harmful regulation."

"The more people find out about SAFE the less they like it and the angrier they get," said Jacob J. Rieper, vice president of Legislative & Political Affairs for the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. "The law was designed specifically to target ordinary decent people, which is why it has no effect on criminals. The issue isn't going to go away no matter how much Cuomo and legislators would like it to."

The Second Amendment Coalition of Western New York (2ACWNY) is still planning a protest at a Cuomo fundraiser in Lake Erie on Wednesday, Nov. 6, though it is now unclear if Gov. Cuomo will be there.

David Rickard, spokesman for 2ACWNY, said in an email that his group wanted to let Gov. Cuomo know they are not going away.

"Our intent is the same at this event as it has been everywhere. To inform and educate the public to the fact that it is losing its freedoms, its liberty and its voice," Rickard said.

An email obtained by the Free Beacon on Monday evening showed that Gov. Cuomo cancelled the fundraiser and it has been rescheduled to Nov. 19.

"There's a lot of confusion regarding the change of venue and date for Wednesday," Rickard said on Tuesday. "It is my experience that when word gets out that people who stand in opposition are going to be there to have their voices heard, the times and places are changed and new info is scarce or released with only a day or two days’ notice."

Rickard indicated his group will be there tomorrow and also on Nov. 19.

Gov. Cuomo also said when he signed the law it would keep the guns out of the hands of convicted felons.

However, the Free Beacon found numerous reports of legal gun owners being arrested.

One man who was arrested in May had nine rounds of ammunition; the new law limits the rounds of ammunition to seven. He was a legal gun owner. The district attorney later said he would not prosecute.

Two other arrests include one man who said he was target shooting and found to have additional rounds of ammunition, and another arrested and now facing a charge for having 11 rounds.

Another arrest in mid-October was of another legal gun owner, Paul Wojdan, who had 10 rounds of ammunition. Wojdan is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday morning.

Schroeder said he and several others would be there to support a legal gun owner who is now considered a criminal for having three extra rounds of ammunition.

Update, 10:20 AM Wed., Nov. 6: The story has been updated to note that multiple gun companies have left New York following the passage of the SAFE Act and that a third is reportedly considering leaving the state.